Tag Archives: electricity

Argyll Array Project Update #37 – October 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoPublic Information Day (PID)

A final reminder that this year’s Public Information Day will be held on Tuesday 30th October between 2.00 pm and 7.00 pm in An Talla, Crossapol. Refreshments will be available throughout the day.

What’s a decommissioning plan?

Decommissioning is the term for the removal of the wind farm from the site at the end of its life. The lease of the seabed from the Crown Estate will be for 50 years. The turbines will have an anticipated life of 20-25 years. The original turbines may therefore be replaced after 20-25 years, enabling the wind farm to be productive for the whole life of the lease. However, whenever the productive life of the wind farm, or any part of it, ends it will be removed from the site. That removal will be a massive operation in itself. It will be carried out under the requirements of the Energy Act 2004 and in accordance with the best practice at that time. The current best practice requires all elements of the windfarm having visual, sea-use or environmental impacts to be removed. The process is essentially the construction process in reverse. It’s also expected to take a similar period of time and have similar environmental impacts as the original construction phase.

The Environmental Statement (ES), which will be such an important part of the consenting and licensing process, will give equal weight to the effects of the decommissioning of the wind farm as it will to its building and operation. The final design of the wind farm will therefore take account of the need for decommissioning. The Energy Act requires the Secretary of State to approve the project’s decommissioning plan before construction starts. The plan cannot be finalized until after engineering design for the wind farm has been completed and this is confirmed after the licensing and consenting process.

Finally, the decommissioning will take place relatively far in the future and be a very expensive process. Therefore, a financial security arrangement, funded by SPR, will be agreed with the regulators before construction begins. This will guarantee that the decommissioning plan can be funded and carried out when the time comes.

Future updates

· Progress with the Tiree Community Partnership Fund

Questions or comments

If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact me at – Donnie Campbell, ScottishPower Renewables Community Liaison Officer, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. My land line telephone number is 220352, mobile number 07881 983753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

Argyll Array Project Update #33 – August 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoPublic Information Day (PID)

This year’s Public Information Day (PID) for the project will be held on Thursday 4th October between 2.00pm and 7.00pm. The venue has still to be finally confirmed. The format will be the same as at the last PID; members of the public are invited to drop in anytime during the day to view a number of information and consultation displays. There will be a chance to discuss these and any other aspects of the project with the project team and a number of other specialist staff from SPR.

There will also be a number of ways of making comment. There have been some significant changes to aspects of the project since the last PID 14 months ago. This PID will explain the effects of these changes and also consult people on how the project should develop further in the future.

There will be further information about the day, including confirmation of the venue, in my next update.

The Environmental Statement (ES)

· What is the Environmental Statement?

It’s the document used to convey the results of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the regulator, Marine Scotland, and all others interested in the application. It provides a description of the project (its construction, its operations/ maintenance and its eventual decommissioning). It also describes the environmental impacts the project could have, the ways significant impacts can be reduced or avoided and the research data used as evidence. It is a legal document forming part of the planning application in 2014.

· What’s the Environmental Impact Assessment?

This is the first step towards the Environmental Statement and, as the name suggests, the EIA assesses the environmental impact of the project. The immediate objectives of the EIA are to improve the project’s environmental design, check its environmental acceptability and identify ways to reduce any impacts. The main long term objective is to avoid serious damage to the environment.

It works by identifying any changes needed to the project and then assessing those changes in turn, in order to refine the project design and reduce environmental impacts as much as possible. Most of the Environmental Impact Assessment work will be done in 2013 but work has already started on possible effects on basking sharks and bird life at the site.

· How complicated is the Environmental Statement?

As Marine Scotland and others interested require more and more detail, the ES gets quite large and technical. For this reason a Non Technical Summary (NTS) is produced which may, for example, summarise a 400 page ES in 20 pages.

To keep the ES itself to a manageable size and readable by the layperson, it will refer to Technical Appendixes which are very detailed reports on individual topics. All are usually public documents when planning is applied for.

· Who writes the ES?

It will be produced for SPR by professional, independent environmental consultants, who will in turn employ specialist sub-contractors.

· How can we be sure the ES is accurate and impartial?

Windfarm Environmental Statements are rigorously evaluated by regulators and also non government agencies and the general public. The issues can also end up being discussed at formal planning inquiries so developers must ensure evaluations are accurate. An inaccurate Environmental Statement would invite serious problems for the developer at the decision making stage. Incorrect decisions made by regulators based on an inaccurate Environmental Statement also invite problems for them.

· When will Tiree see the ES?

The final ES is submitted as part of the planning application. However, an early draft will be available in the form of a preliminary environmental report at least 3 months before a planning application to Marine Scotland. This is currently planned to be in mid-2014, as part of the pre-application consultation on the project. (More about pre-application consultation in a future update.)

· What aspects of the environment will the ES report on?

This is what makes it such an important document. This will be dealt with in my next update.

Future updates

  • Detail of what aspects of the environment the Environmental Statement will report on.
  • What’s a pre?application consultation?
  •  What’s a decommissioning plan?

Questions or comments

If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact me at – Donnie Campbell, ScottishPower Renewables Community Liaison Officer, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. My land line telephone number is 220 352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

Argyll Array Project Update No.32 August 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoTiree RESET Fund

One of the matters that’s come up as I’ve been discussing the Fund with people recently is that many assume it only applies to education or training in engineering. This is far from the case and the range of activities it has been set up to support is very wide.The Background and Rules of the Fund are published elsewhere i An Tirisdeach to emphasise that.

However, a brief extract from them is useful to demonstrate the range of eligible activities-

  • · training and education in general offshore skill sets
  •  · craft skills
  •  · Modern Apprenticeships
  •  · relevant vocational qualifications
  •  · business and management studies
  •  · IT
  •  · all engineering disciplines
  •  · pure and applied sciences and mathematics

In fact, the range of activities is even wider than that and the Rules give more detail. Can I also remind those interested that the deadline for applications to the Fund is 31st August.

Those who have made informal enquiries are reminded that they still need to submit a formal application to the Fund. Because of lack of space, the minutes of the meetings which set up the RESET Fund will be published in the next edition.

Future updates

  • · What’s in an Environmental Statement?
  •  · What’s a pre?application consultation?

Questions or comments If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact me at – Donnie Campbell, ScottishPower Renewables Community Liaison Officer, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. My land line telephone number is 220 352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com.

Argyll Array Project Update #27 – May 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logo

Argyll Array Website

The project website www.argyllarray.com has now been updated to reflect the recent changes to the project timings. It also now carries electronic copies of all the updates published in An Tirisdeach and copies of the indicative photomontages used at the June 2011 Public Information Day.

New project timetable

A number of people have asked for clarification of the new timetable for the project. I’ve therefore listed the most important revised dates below. It should be noted that these dates are those that are currently planned and are subject to change, especially the milestones that are still some years in the future. Some aspects, such as the date of the planning decision are also outwith SPR’s control.

  • · 2012/13?research and preparation for the Environmental Statement
  • · Mid 2014? Environmental Statement issued for pre-application consultation
  • · Late 2014? planning application submitted
  • · 2015/16?planning decision
  • · 2016/17?final investment decision by SPR
  • · 2018?begin construction of electrical transmission infrastructure
  • · Early 2020?begin offshore turbine installation
  • · Late 2020?first electricity production from the wind farm Cable route
  • As I’ve said in previous updates, the electricity generated at the Argyll Array wind farm will connect to the National Grid at Dalmally. Over the last year, SPR have looked at a number of options for where to lay the cable, and have now revised this to two options

    • · one undersea to Mull, then crossing Mull through Loch Na Keal towards Salen, then running south east along the A849 towards Craignure
    • · the other passing undersea by the south of Mull. Both routes would land north of Oban and then follow the A85 to Dalmally.

    underground cable map

    These are the routes marked blue on the map. We won’t know which of these is preferred until we’ve undertaken the geophysical survey for the cable route. (The grey coloured routes are no longer options and the thin red border defines the area of search for the route.)

    All of the onshore cables will be underground, both on the mainland and if they cross Mull. We will undertake environmental and technical surveys of the routes in 2013, and following these will be able to define the exact proposed route of the cable.

    Future updates

    • · What’s in an Environmental Statement?
    • · What’s a pre?application consultation?
    • · Support for education and training in renewable energy in Tiree

    Questions or comments
    If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact me at –

    Donnie Campbell, ScottishPower Renewables Community Liaison Officer, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. My land line telephone number is 220 352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

Wobbles and Delays In Tiree Turbine Plans

Tiree Array (artists impression)

The controversial proposals to erect giant turbines close to Tiree are hitting delays and uncertainties.

As we know, Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) now will not submit planning applications until the latter half of 2014. Tiree folk have to accept at face value the company’s explanation that this is due to ‘environmental issues’. However, there may be other factors at work to put brakes on SPR’s plans. Citi Group, the global investment bank, warned that investors would be cautious until after the Scottish referendum on independence. These ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTIES were more recently compounded by market worries about the exposure of Scottish Power and its parent company, Iberdrola, to Spanish banks. Spain’s economic crisis is mounting by the day. The issue of the withdrawal of Doosan, the Korean manufacturer who planned to develop offshore turbines in Scotland, was clarified by the company as the result of ‘…the overall economic conditions in Europe’. In other words, the wind energy industry is feeling the windchills of all the economic woes!

TRANSMISSION HEADACHES

A recent SPR update stated it was minded not to place a huge converter station on Tiree. Last week the Oban Times reported that SPR were exploring options via Mull. SPR reasoned that if offshore cabling risked being dredged up it could take months to fix it!

This happened near Tiree two years ago and it took five months to get power transmission back to normal. If this is such a real risk it makes one wonder why the Tiree Array is being proposed in the first place! SPR itself is not allowed to build or own the kind of high voltage equipment needed for these jobs. The transmission network will be constructed by an Offshore Transmission Operator (an OFTO) appointed by OFGEM the energy industry regulator. Had things been on track for Tiree, the OFTO tendering process for the Tiree Array should have been started by now. There is no sign yet of this happening.

The Moray Array made its first moves on this process last November, and it is hoping to submit for planning in 2012. It would appear to the layman, then, that transmission problems for SPR continue to mount and may be contributing to their own planning application delay. NTA has asked for clarification on this from OFGEM and SPR.

EUROPEAN UNION

The issue of the Tiree Array is now at the heart of Europe! NTA made a presentation to an EU symposium on offshore windfarm environmental issues, including the Blue Carbon question and potential destruction of wildlife, flagged up by NTA itself.

These also may have contributed to SPR’s problems. The meeting was attended by folk from the Scottish Government and Marine Scotland, the planning agency.

WHAT YOU WILL SEE IF THE ARRAY IS BUILT

Regrettably, the Tiree Trust has withdrawn from a previously agreed joint approach with NTA to this question of visuals and the selection of viewpoints on the island. Because of delays, SPR will pursue this issue next year. Last November Marine Scotland announced that it was ‘currently reviewing its licence manual and the consultants working on this will include visual impact.’ This shift on visual impact will replace and update current guidelines and when these are published NTA will consult with the various statutory bodies involved. We’ve told SPR we’ll be doing so. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE CONSULTATION PERIOD FOR THE ON-SHORE MAPPING SCENARIO CLOSES ON FRIDAY 27 AUGUST. ALSO BE AWARE THAT CONSTANT UPDATES ON ALL THESE ISSUES AND MORE ARE AVAILABLE ON NTA’S WEBSITE AT www.no-tiree-array.org.uk

Argyll Array Project Update #22 – January 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logo

 

 

Welcome to the first Argyll Array Project Update of the year. I and the rest of the Project Team would like to wish everyone a happy, peaceful and healthy 2012.

Community Partnership Fund

The first meeting with Tiree Community Development Trust to discuss this initiative will take place during the week beginning 23rd of January.I will provide a report of that meeting in my next update.

Environmental Impact Assessment

The company are still working towards a deadline of Spring 2013 for submitting the application for consent. To support the application we need to write an Environmental Statement (part of the Environmental Impact Assessment – EIA). A variety of assessments into the human, biological and physical environment will be necessary in order to complete the Environmental Statement. WSP Group were appointed at the end of last year as our lead consultants on the EIA. They will be responsible for managing and co-ordinating these assessments on SPR’s behalf.

What have we done already?

– We have completed two years worth of bird and marine mammal monitoring on the wind farm site, and are now conducting an impact assessment on the basis of the data we gathered.

– During this week consultants Cathie Associates have been carrying out a visual geological survey of the island. The survey was carried out by geologists walking the terrain and observing the surface geology. There may be a follow-up survey later in the year. The results of the survey will be used to complement the sea bed geophysical surveys to be done on the wind farm site itself later this year.

What will we be doing next?

– There will be a survey of benthic (seabed) ecology on the wind farm site and possible export cable route. The data collected will be used to assess the potential effects of the wind farm on seabed habitats and species.

– The three wave buoys and current profilers which I mentioned in a couple of updates last year will be deployed on the wind farm site. The intention is to leave these instruments in place for one year. The data collected from these will be used to assess the potential effects of the wind farm on sediment movement and wave patterns. It will also inform many aspects of the technical design of the project.

– There will be two surveys of marine traffic on the wind farm site. The first of these will be in late winter, probably February, and the other later in the year. The surveys will be carried out from onshore on Tiree itself. Marico are the company carrying out the survey on SPR’s behalf. There will therefore be a couple of vehicles deploying a radio and antenna at various spots near the west coast of the island for the duration of the survey. The survey is expected to take about two weeks.

– Detailed work will commence on both the potential landscape/visual effects of the project and the potential socio-economic effects of the project. There will be more information on both these important aspects of the EIA as they get under way.

Technical Design Work

– Work continues on developing the engineering design of the project. In support of this, in Spring/Summer, a geophysical survey of the wind farm site and potential export cable route will be undertaken. This survey, conducted from a vessel, will measure the seabed depth, and yield information on the seabed sediment types and their thickness. The data from these surveys will inform decisions about where turbines and cables can be placed on the seabed. There will be full consultation with local fishermen regarding how this survey can be carried out with minimal disruption to fishing activity.

– This Spring/Summer we hope to apply for planning permission to erect an onshore meteorological mast on the west coast of Tiree, as described in a couple of updates last year. This mast will obviously provide us with accurate information on wind speed and direction. – Over the next few months work will continue to identify the preferred cable route to take the electricity from the wind farm back to the national transmission system. It was decided late last year not to take the export cables over Tiree and Coll. We still have to assess whether the cable route might pass over Mull or go completely undersea and, once it reaches Oban, the best route to then get it to the connection point at Dalmally. We also still have to decide whether the converter station which will be needed at or near the wind farm will be sited on Tiree or offshore.

Questions or Comments

If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact me at

– Donnie Campbell, ScottishPower Renewables Community Liaison Officer, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. My land line telephone number is 220352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

Reid Calls For Inquiry Into Scottish Electricity

Alan Reid mpFollowing early January’s storms and the resulting electricity black-outs, Alan Reid, MP for Argyll & Bute said,
“I am full of praise for the engineers from Scottish & Southern Energy who worked such long hours in very difficult conditions to restore power to the many affected communities. However, prevention is always better than cure and questions must be asked as to how the Argyll & Bute electricity supply network can be improved to make it much more robust against the storms which seem to be happening much more often these days. When Parliament returns I will be calling on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee to mount an inquiry into the state of Scotland’s electricity supply network and how it can be improved to reduce the problems caused by future severe storms.”

On 12th January Mr Reid’s calls were answered when it was announced that a Select Committee will be looking into:-

    • ? The frequency and severity of weatherrelated power cuts in Scotland.
    • ? The consequences of such power cuts to individuals, businesses and public sector services.
    • ? The current condition and technological state of Scotland’s electricity transmission network.
    • ? The advantages and disadvantages of using an alternative electricity transmission infrastructure, particularly regarding its vulnerability to weather-related damage.
    • ? Was the response provided by the energy companies satisfactory? ?
    • How the regulation of Transmission System Operators and Distribution Network Operators impacts upon investment in Scotland’s electricity transmission network.

The Committee welcomes written evidence from interested parties on any, or all, aspects of the inquiry by 2 February 2012.
Submissions should be in Word format and sent by e-mail to scotaffcom@parliament.uk. The body of the email must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address and should not exceed 2,000 words.

Mr Reid said,
“I welcome this inquiry. I encourage people who were affected by the power black outs to give their views to the Committee before the closing date of 2nd February.”

Argyll Array Project Update 21 – December 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logo

Community Partnership Fund

How Tiree could gain from the Argyll Array project has been the subject of a number of my updates over the last few months and has been frequently raised as an issue in comments on the project.
SPR has been looking closely at this matter over the last few months, with the objective of sharing its conclusions with the island before the end of this year. The company is now happy to be able to confirm its commitment to the principle of creating a Community Partnership Fund, a mechanism that will provide direct investment in Tiree and the people who live on the island, to support local projects and initiatives. Some of this investment could be in place in the near future and could then grow as the development reaches certain milestones such as consent and full operation.
This would enable the whole of Tiree, as the wind farm’s close neighbour, to share in the positives that arise from the harvesting of our common natural resources.
A number of factors were taken into account in making the decision. These factors will continue to influence the next stages. These include-

  • A number of organisations, such as Argyll & Bute Council, will have legitimate contributions to make regarding the development and application of the fund.
  • The investment will be unique to the Argyll Array project and if used effectively, will positively support Tiree economically and socially
  • The investment will be additional to and completely separate from any sums paid by SPR to individuals or businesses in Tiree under private contracts or agreements related to the development and operation of the wind farm
  • The investment will also be separate to any improvements to Tiree infrastructure essential for the development of the project, such as an improved harbour or improved communication networks.

The finally agreed form of the investment will be outlined in a legally binding agreement. Of course, the practical detail of how the investment will be made has yet to be worked out. SPR will begin initial discussions with the Tiree community in the New Year regarding this. I will include information on the progress of the Community Partnership Fund discussions in my first Updates of 2012.
Questions or comments
If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact me at –
Donnie Campbell, ScottishPower Renewables Community Liaison Officer, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. My land line telephone number is 220 352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

Argyll Array Project Update #16 September 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logoScenario Mapping

The Project Team has been working recently to create detailed ‘scenarios ‘of how Operations and Maintenance of the Argyll Array could potentially work if the base was sited wholly or partly in Tiree.Operations and Maintenance (or O&M) is the work which needs to be done once a wind farm is built and it begins to generate electricity.

Over the 25 year lifespan of a wind farm, turbines have to be serviced and repaired and technicians and spares have to be quickly and efficiently transported to the wind farm. We have outlined a number of options, or ‘scenarios’, for that and these will enable people to better understand what the onshore impacts of the project could be in Tiree.

It’s important to emphasise that these scenarios are concerned with what may happen onshore in Tiree and are not focused on questions about the actual wind turbines themselves. It’s also important to say that the scenarios are not definite plans-they are possibilities or options for how O&M could be done. We have provided these scenarios to the consultants who are carrying out the Scenario Mapping process on behalf of a group led by Argyll and Bute Council. These will form part of the consultation event to be held soon in Tiree.

Like the previous event last month, this is not an SPR event. However, this is a really good opportunity to get more information about the possible impacts- if O&M was cited in Tiree- of such things as new jobs, increased transport activity, new infrastructure and increased economic activity generally. This will enable the community to be better informed about these possible options and allow a clearer picture to emerge of Tiree’s views about them when the consultation is complete by the end of the year.

Benefits from the wind farm

Some of the O&M scenarios that will be presented in the Scenario Mapping process have the potential to be of great benefit to Tiree both economically and socially.

They could bring good quality jobs and improved infrastructure to the island. However, it has been clear to the company for some time that there is an expectation that other direct positive impacts could also come from the Argyll Array. This has been evident from conversations round the island, from views put to us by the Tiree Trust and from the comments at the Public Information Day in June. Keen readers of these Updates will remember that I said in August that the company was working on what form that positive impact could take. So this is something else the Project Team has been working on recently and we’re committed to saying more about this once the Scenario Mapping process is complete.

Public Information Days on Grid Route Selection

A major part of the project will be the system needed to transmit the electricity generated by the wind farm to the National Grid.

The electricity has to be transmitted by an export cable to a site at Cruachan, near Dalmally, on the Argyll mainland. This will require the grid route to go from the wind farm, both on the sea bed and on land, to get there.

Much work has been done over the summer on looking at potential grid routes. The options have now been reduced to a number of potential routes, which will be the subject of Public Information Days next month. These Information Days will be similar to that held in Tiree in June. The public will be able to see a number of possible grid routes and to make comments on them.

Public bodies such as the Scottish Government, the Council and SNH will be asked for comments. Representative groups such as users of the sea and land along the routes will also be invited to comment. Once the Information Days have been held, the company will take account of all the comments and of the technical data before selecting one or two routes to look at more closely. This closer look will involve a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the route(s), essentially the same as will be done for the wind farm itself.

The Public Information Days will be held in Mull, Oban and Dalmally in the middle of next month. There will be no Public Information Day in Tiree at this time. This is because the situation as regards the grid route is different for Tiree.

The first difference is that none of the potential grid transmission routes to Dalmally crosses Tiree and Coll. All of the potential routes go from the wind farm undersea, directly to other parts of Argyll and Bute. There will therefore be no cable transmission route to Dalmally across Tiree and Coll.

The second difference is to do with the transmission of the electricity. The electricity from the wind farm has to be converted from AC to DC before transmission, to reduce energy losses on the long journey to Dalmally. Another converter station at Dalmally will then convert it back to AC. A decision has not yet been made about where the wind farm converter station could be and this could affect Tiree.
The converter station could be within the wind farm itself, on a large platform out at sea. The electricity from the turbines would go to the platform to be converted and then head undersea, for transmission to other parts of Argyll.

Another option is that the electricity from the turbines would go to a converter station in Tiree to be converted before it was transmitted, initially undersea, to Dalmally.

If a converter station were to be proposed in Tiree, SPR would take into consideration the need to minimize the lengths of cables into and out of it. So, because the transmission grid route will not cross Tiree and Coll there will be no Grid Route Public Information Day next month in Tiree. However, when a potential site for the converter station has been identified, either offshore or onshore, a decision will then be made about a Public Information Day in Tiree.

Future updates

  • A report on the visit to an offshore wind farm in England
  • A report on the Offshore Wind Careers Evening.

Questions or comments

If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact me at – Donnie Campbell, ScottishPower Renewables Community Liaison Officer, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. My land line telephone number is 220 352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

Argyll Array Project Update Number 14 – Spetember 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logo

Public Information Day comments


I’ve responded below to more of the points made at the Public Information Day held in late June. I’ll cover the remaining points in the next update.


Socio-Economics


Desire for a guarantee on jobs from the project (THREE COMMENTS)

This is a complex issue. Firstly, the building of the wind farm would not significantly impact on Tiree as far as jobs are concerned. The turbines parts (towers, blades and generators) would be loaded on to very specialized installation vessels, at purpose built port facilities like those in Belfast. These vessels would then sail directly to the site and install the turbines. The wind farm could, however, provide around 100 jobs once it is built and operating and these could potentially be in Tiree.


These jobs would be for the Operations and Maintenance part of the project. Such jobs involve routine servicing of the turbines, repairing turbine breakdowns, monitoring the power output and ensuring that all technicians and materials are able to get to the turbines.


Because the project is in its early planning stages, it has not yet been decided if the Operations and Maintenance base (usually just called the O&M base) from which technicians travel daily to the wind farm would be best based onshore in Tiree or wholly/partly offshore within the wind farm site itself. If it was wholly offshore, with staff on a special platform or on a mother-ship permanently stationed at sea, there would be little impact on jobs for Tiree. If it was onshore, though, the base would require a safe harbour in Gott Bay and the O&M staff and their families would live in Tiree. The only place we foresee such a harbour being is Tiree. The only place in Tiree suitable for the harbour would be Gott Bay.


I know how frustrating it is that a decision has yet to be made about the O&M base, because so much of the benefit people see from the project would come from the base being in Tiree. That’s why planning for O&M is being looked at by the company more closely over the coming months, much earlier than it is for other offshore projects. (The whole matter of what Tiree actually wants from the Operations and Maintenance part of the project is the topic of the Scenario Planning consultation being carried out by consultants right now on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council and others. An open consultation on this topic is planned for early October in Tiree. This will not be an SPR event but I would encourage all to go along to it and get their voices heard. Look out for the notices in the next couple An Tirisdeachs)


Visual impact


Desire for photomontages of night-time views (TWO COMMENTS)


Tiree, like all rural areas, doesn’t experience ‘light pollution’, which is the orange/ yellow glow in the sky caused by city street lighting and other lights. This means that rural skies are much darker than city skies and give much better views of the stars.


There were two requests for photomontages that would show any ‘light pollution’ from the lights on the turbines. It’s useful here to explain what sort of lights would be on the turbines.


By no means all the turbines would have warning lights on them. Only one turbine every 4km on the perimeter of the wind farm would have an aviation light and a maritime navigation light. Tilley, the Tiree Community Turbine, has aviation light on the top and Gott Bay pier has a maritime navigation light on the pier head. Every turbine in the wind farm would also have an identification light, to illuminate the turbine number, in the event that a vessel in distress inside the wind farm at night needs to identify its location. Identification lights are no bigger than needed for that purpose and are only visible close to each turbine.


The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment carried out for Argyll Array will discuss any night time lighting issues.


Character of island


Desire to leave the island if the project goes ahead


This was said by one person who presumably had the option of leaving Tiree if they chose. They were in the fortunate position of having the resources and freedom from commitments to exercise that choice.


For many families, however, Tiree is their home and the option to leave just does not arise. For them, any opportunity for improvement in their standard of living has to present itself on Tiree and the Argyll Array is possibly such an opportunity.


Equally, some individuals are forced to leave Tiree for work and opportunity and the option to stay does not arise for them. The project also offers them the possibility of being able to return home, or never having to leave in the first place.

Consultation

Desire for more information on the converter station

The converter station is an installation that would convert the generated power from AC to DC for transmission to the national grid at Cruachan. Like the O&M base, this could possibly be located offshore in the wind farm or onshore on Tiree.

A study is presently being carried out by consultants to determine the options for the cable route to take power from the windfarm to the national grid. This study will also review options for the converter station. The most feasible options will be presented at Public Information Days before the end of the year.

An Environmental Impact Assessment will be carried out on the proposed route and converter station location, and details of the assessment will be given in the planning application.

Other

Scepticism about the ability of the project to cope with weather and sea conditions

There is no doubt that the weather and sea conditions in the wind farm site can be extreme. It is also the case that no offshore wind farm has yet been built and operated in these conditions. This, however, is part of the big human and technical challenge the project presents. New technology and ways of working will have to be developed.

Looking back at history, it took Alan Stevenson many years to solve the problems and develope the technology to enable Skerryvore to be built and to stand for the last 150 years and more. The same will need to be done again. We can never defeat the power of the sea but we most certainly can build and work in a way which means we’re not defeated by it.

Wind Farm Visit

The visit to a wind farm in the Irish Sea, which was postponed earlier in the summer has now been provisionally re-arranged for September 26th-28th. This would entail leaving Tiree on Monday 26th by ‘plane, visiting the wind farm near Barrow in Cumbria on the Tuesday, returning to Tiree by ‘plane on Wednesday 28th.

All travel and subsistence will be paid by SPR. Four participants are being selected in association with the Tiree Trust but one more place remains for a general member of the community. I have one nomination from earlier in the summer and this is a final call for further expressions of interest. Please let me know, through the usual means, if you are interested in going on what will be a very informative visit.

Also, please speak to me if you would like more details, before the closing date of Wednesday 7th September.

Exhibition in Rural Centre

The exhibition of materials from the Public Information Day in June which was housed in the Auction Ring for the summer has now closed. I’ll publish an analysis of the attendance and comments in due course. Meanwhile, thank you to all who attended and to the Rural Centre for their hosting of the exhibition.

Future update

  • More responses to comments made at the Public Information Day
  • Information on upcoming Careers Information Day
  • Questions or comments

    If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact me at – Donnie Campbell, ScottishPower Renewables Community Liaison Officer, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. My land line telephone number is 220 352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

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